Signals and Worldviews

From the price you set to the metaphors you employ to the typeface you use in your newsletters, every item you send out in the world sends a signal. However, each signal runs through a filter before it is received. And that filter is the worldview of the receiver.


As represented by

THE MINISTER of Agriculture

(Hereinafter referred to as “THE MINISTRY”)


Mark Dyck

(Hereinafter referred to as “THE SERVICE PROVIDER”)

We’ve been discussing “signals” quite a bit in over in the Right Company  community. From the price you set to the metaphors you employ to the typeface you use in your newsletters, every item you send out in the world sends a signal.

However, each signal runs through a filter before it is received. And that filter is the worldview of the receiver.

The six page contract that came last week for a 30 minute presentation I’d agreed to give (in exchange for gas money) is a case in point.

Even my single worldview drew out three distinct reactions.

  • What a power play! They’re just trying to push me down a peg. Service Provider – pfft.
  • Talk about bureaucracy! It cost them more to create the contract than the gas money. All for a 30 minute talk. What a waste.
  • That poor lady. She must be embarrassed to have to send me such a crazy contract for a tiny thing.

I’m sure you can think of more.

Now, the contract itself isn’t good or bad. A verbal agreement would create just as many reactions.

The question for us as leaders, storytellers and marketers isn’t “should I use a contract?” It’s not even “how will people respond to this signal?”

The more important question is “How will a person with the worldview I’m trying to connect with react to this signal?” Others will react differently and that’s OK.

The problem arises when we send a signal and are surprised by the response.



Seth Godin has a new course out. This one is about podcasting. He announced it this morning and I already have the signup page in front of me, with the cursor hovering over the submit button.

A month ago, it was the Bootstrapper’s workshop. The month before that, the Marketing Seminar. Last year, the altMBA (which I actually took.)

What is it about me and Seth’s projects that makes me want to drop all my work and join up?

It’s not the information, although it’s relevant and helpful.

Often it’s not even filling a knowledge gap. I mean, I just shipped my 29th podcast this morning. And I’m already bootstrapping three projects. I know how to do this.

But Seth is the master of connection. I’m desperate to meet the other people who sign up for the session. To see what they are making. To help them succeed. To be part of a larger cohort of bootstrappers, of marketers, of podcasters.

Really, to be part of his cohort of bootstrappers, marketers and podcasters.

Because what Seth has built over the years is a reputation of doing things a certain way. With purpose, clarity and generosity. I want to build the same reputation, as do the others he attracts.

People like us. That’s what we all want. And Seth has brought us together once again.

But I’m not signing up today.

As much as I want to, yearn to, I’m not going to do it.

Because it’s my lizard brain, my Resistance, that is screaming at me to press the sign up button this morning. It knows that if I sign up, I’ll be ‘all in’ for the next six weeks, spending hour after hour in the new group, with my new friends, helping them go forward. And I’ll spend six weeks describing, in great detail, how I want to move forward too.

All of that feels so, so, good. I want it so badly. But I know that it will delay me from actually moving forward.

I’ll be back in Dream mode instead of Ship mode.

So I have to say no. I must, respectfully, decline.

This is soooo difficult to do, but it’s the right call for now.

Using The Gift

I haven’t had the most productive week.  Well, I got things done, but not the important thing.

This was the week to send out invitations for my next project, but to do that meant standing up and sharing my intentions with people I admire.  To say “This is what I’m doing.”

Instead, I hid.  Let the week slide by.  At one point, I even told myself that my friends would refuse my invitation.

Cindy and I talked about this and she reminded me that every day is a gift.

I’m in this unique position where (for a while anyway) I can spend my time working on projects that I chose, rather than projects that others choose for me.

So a day not spent moving my projects forward is a waste of my gift.

We all have this gift.  A day, a week, or maybe only an hour.

Don’t waste the gift.  The world needs what you’re making.  Please use the time you have.


The End Of The Week

I’ve been deep in a post altMBA funk this week. I’ve got my project plan and my task list but I’m just not working at it enough to ship on time.

When confronted by being stuck like this, especially when it’s self inflicted, my first reaction is that my deadlines are soft. Or at least out too far.

One of the best things about the altMBA format is that there is something due every single day. So there’s nowhere to hide. No way to get around to it later. You gotta ship, period.

Some of us, me included, like to set weekly goals. I’ll ship by the end of the week.

But Monday quickly turns into Tuesday turns into Wednesday. Laundry is done, the house is (relatively) clean, groceries purchased, side projects tended to.

Then as the sun sets on Thursday night, you realize you haven’t really got going on The Big Project. The one with the deadline.

That’s when the downward spiral picks up steam. The funk gets funkier. Not good.

No, better to have a daily deadline and mean it. Promise yourself you’ll pay the neighbour (the one you don’t like that much) $20 if you don’t ship tonight. And tomorrow. And the next day.

Get a stack of twenties and put them on your desk as a reminder.

Then get to work. We need you to ship.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

The Secret Path

I’ve been fixating on the work of Gord Downie for a month now, since his untimely passing in October. Yesterday I started watching the CBC broadcast of The Silent Path, the concert / album / film / graphic novel about a boy who ran away from a residential school in 1966 and died trying to walk the 600km home.

Well, I had to stop after two songs. I was crying too much. Listening to the songs performed live, with the film playing in the background was heartbreaking.

I’m going to watch the whole thing this weekend. It’s important that we all do, to help us understand what went on and start to comprehend the magnitude of the reconciliation that’s required. As Gord himself says in this moving speech, it took seven generations to get to this point and will take seven generations to fully heal. But it’s time to start.

I can’t recommend this concert enough.

PS.  Some more links:

The Secret Path album on Spotify

Gord’s last album, Introduce Yerself announced just weeks prior to his death, on Spotify


Photo via CBC Docs